With a career preceding her, Rie Kugimiya is arguably one of the most iconic and recognizable voices of modern anime. Known to many fans as the “Queen of Tsundere”, Kugimiya carved a name for herself, portraying characters such as Alphonse Elric from the classic “Steel Alchemist” Hiromu Arakawa, Louise from “Familiar Zero”; the main character from Shakugan no Shana, Kagura from Gintama and is responsible for giving birth not only to various cult queens hot and cold, but also to other characters, both main and secondary.
How did Kugimiya become synonymous with the tsundere archetype, and what impact did she have on anime in general? From mascot to protagonist, she is one of the most prolific voice actors in the industry. Here is a summary of the voicing deity, which is Rie Kugimiya.
Born on May 30, 1979 in Osaka, Kugimiya has been working in the industry for almost 25 years, earning her first awards at the Japanese voice agency I’m Enterprise in the very first Japanese-sponsored summer school program for voice actors. The Institute of Narration. Her debut role came in 1998 in the video game sketch “The Trembling Heart”, where she played the role of Tadami Seki.
From the very beginning of her career, Kugimiya’s talents have been used to voice teenagers and teenagers, but since then she has diversified her repertoire with various interesting roles that do not correspond to how she started her career. This association with young characters is due to the quality of her voice and her intonation, which gives her characters even more youth, but she also tends to give them a roughness that strengthens the connection with childhood or youth.
Kugimiya works hard and has earned herself a huge reputation. At the moment, veteran anime fans only need to listen to a character for a few seconds to point her out, and that’s because of her appearance in so many different roles. Her codification of the tsundere archetype is also partly a consequence of Kugimiya’s extensive list of roles, especially in the anime Parts of Life and Romance. Here’s a rundown of some of her most iconic roles, which, of course, is by no means exhaustive:
Alphonse Elric, The Steel Alchemist, 2003, 2009. She also played Katherine Ann Armstrong in both anime versions and Xiao Mei in Steel Alchemist: Brotherhood. Shana, Shakugan no Shana, 2005-2011. This role made Kugimiya’s “urusai” (“shut up”) especially memorable because of Shana’s habit of repeating it three times in a row every time. This even led to the fact that in 2022, her role as Chloe D’apicier in the second part of The Case Study of Vanitas had an Easter egg moment when the character said “shut up” twice in a row. Isabella Yamamoto, Paradise Kiss, 2005 Kagura, Gintama, 2006– present. This role earned her the award for Best Supporting Actress at the first Seiyu Awards. Louise de la Valliere, Familiar Zero, 2006-2012 Nagi Sanzenin, Hayate’s battle butler, 2007-2013. Thanks to this, along with the role of Shana, Kugimiya received the award for Best Supporting Actress at the second Seiyu Awards. . Aisaka Taiga, Toradora!, 2008. For this role, she received the award for Best Actress at the third Seiyu Awards. Happy, Fairy Tail; “Zero Eden”, 2009 – present. Kugimiya’s performance turns Happy into one of the most beloved mascot characters of the recent senen anime. Juzo Suzuya, Tokyo Ghoul, 2014-2019. This role stands out especially because of the huge difference with the characters she played in the past, as well as because Kugimiya uses a completely different approach to the sound of her voice. to match the apathetic but psychotic Juzo. Kotaro Sato, Kotaro lives alone, 2022. Somehow, Kugimiya managed to hone her specialty and use her ability to voice teenagers to fully realize one of the youngest main characters of the anime. At the age of just four, Kotaro’s character demanded that the voice sound even younger, but because of his premature development, the veteran voice actor had to somehow give this child an “old” vocabulary and demeanor, while maintaining a more youthful sound than hers. ever had to do.
The Queen of Versatility
As mentioned earlier, Kugimiya is known for her portrayal of the tsundere archetype; however, her real superpower is her ability to find differences in this small niche, as well as create large spaces for herself. She can’t just be considered the queen of tsundere, because she shone in all roles.
One of the most mysterious of Kugimiya’s master classes, of course, is her portrayal of the depraved Suzui Juzou from Tokyo Ghoul, a character whose absurdity is proportional to his psychotic nature and propensity for violence. Despite the horror that Juzo is, Kugimiya retains a level of sweetness in his voice by playing with him, which further increases the fear factor whenever he appears.